Prunella Scales helped make Tesco great - but now she has defected to the cause of the

small shopkeeper.

Scales, who played domineering mother Dotty in a series of TV adverts for Tesco that ran for nearly ten years from 1995, is battling to save her local high street from being taken over by larger retail chains like her former employer.

In a switch from 'every little helps' to helping every little shop, Scales joined retailers from Northcote Road in Battersea, London, to hand over a petition of 7,000 signatures urging Wandsworth Borough Council to safeguard the distinctive character of the road. "I have lived here for 39 years. Northcote Road has always been a local shopping street with real local traders - a community street. We don't want that to change," said Scales.

Harvey Heath, chairman of the Northcote Road Action Group, said: "Locals want to ensure that Northcote Road does not become indistinguishable from other shopping streets."?